Believe it or not, the 13th Edition of the Xerox Rochester International Jazz Festival will be upon us in 30 days! This year's festival will feature more than 1,200 artists from around the world playing all kinds of music in 20 venues in downtown Rochester. There will continue a number of free shows around Rochester during the festival. Of course, there are the headliner free shows on the street with Big Bad Voodoo Daddy, Lou Gramm, Marcus Miller Band, Soulive and George Thorogood and the Destroyers. With the support of the City of Rochester, Rochester General Health System, The Community Foundation, Wegmans, RG&E and Lidestri, XRIJF will be presenting over 75 free shows on six outdoor stages and free noon concerts at the downtown Rochester Monroe County Library. The popular nightly jam sessions continue at the Rochester Plaza Hotel on State Street. The revised layout has made that venue so much more inviting to this veteran.
In addition to being one of the world's largest jazz festivals, Rochester's festival also presents one of the more extensive lineups of artists from around the world. This year there are artists and groups from 19 countries, including the U.S., Canada, Aruba, Cuba, Brazil, South Africa, Japan, Italy, Sweden, Denmark, Finland, Norway, England, Scotland, France, Mali, Israel, Netherlands and Poland. The festival's popular Made in the UK series is now in its seventh year and remains the largest presentation of British jazz outside the UK. Nordic Jazz Now, will celebrate its eighth year at the festival and always presents some of the best and quirkiest music at the festival .
There is a new venue this year called "Squeezers at the Inn on Broadway." The Inn was featuring live music anyway the past couple of years, so it is a good idea for the folks at XRIJF to "bring them into the family." Squeezers will be a tent with a capacity of 500, adjacent to the Inn on Broadway and will present 18 jazz, blues, and R&B concerts during the nine days. Squeezers is named in honor of the former Bandbox on State Street, which was also known as Squeezers, and is sponsored the DiMarco family in honor of the former club's owner, Joe Strazzeri of Rochester are sponsoring the venue.
Our local Public TV station WXXI will again film 4 concerts in Kilbourn Hall for national distribution on PBS stations. Also returning will be the XRIJF Gerry Niewood Scholarship Concert, which is free, on Monday, June 23 at 8:00 p.m. with the Eastman Jazz Ensemble directed by Bill Dobbins and special guest John Sneider. The 2014 Scholarship recipients will be announced at the concert. The festival has awarded more than $130,000 in scholarships to 31 Eastman School of Music students since 2002. Continuing with the educational angle, 22 of the great regional high school jazz bands will be performing on the City of Rochester Jazz Street Stage presented by The Community Foundation. This year while standing in line for food or Kilbourn (or sitting down for a bit) we'll be hearing students from high school bands from Bloomfield, Brighton, Brockport, Buffalo Academy, Canandaigua, Eastridge, Fairport, Hilton, Honeoye Falls Lima, Spencerport, Greece Arcadia, Greece Athena, Greece Odyssey, Greece Olympia, Newark, Pittsford Mendon, Pittsford Sutherland, MCC, School of the Arts, Webster Schroeder, Webster Thomas, West Irondequoit. The Jazz Workshops for Aspiring Music Students is returning. This series of five structured jazz workshops is sponsored by Wegmans, hosted by Bob Sneider, Eastman School of Music Assistant Professor of Jazz Studies and Contemporary Media and Senior Instructor of Jazz Guitar, and led by five visiting international musicians performing at XRIJF. Aspiring students will meet, listen to and learn from professional jazz musicians and also play. The series will be held in room 120, the Ray Wright Room, at Eastman School of Music from 1:00-2:30 p.m. Workshops are open to all aspiring grade school and high school music students, no pre-registration is required.
Using the XRIJF app, I have gone over the schedule and made some picks for my XRIJF this year and hope to start telling you all about them soon. My picks are, by definition, subject to change, but that is one of the things I love about the XRIJF. I'm looking forward to this year as there are lot of places in my schedule that may provide me an opportunity to make the "odd" choices that create opportunities to find new "favorites."
More later . . .